All That Money Can Buy (1941)

85, 100, 109 or 112 mins | Drama | 17 October 1941

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HISTORY

Although the title of the print viewed was Daniel and the Devil , onscreen credits acknowledge that the picture was originally titled All That Money Can Buy . According to HR news items, the film was conceived in Jan 1941 as The Devil and Daniel Webster . In Feb 1941, the title was changed to A Certain Mr. Scratch to avoid confusion with another RKO film, The Devil and Miss Jones . By Mar 1941, the title had reverted back to The Devil and Daniel Webster , but it was tradeshown in Jul as Here Is a Man . An Aug 1941 HR news item noted that the studio's distribution department objected to the word "devil" in the title, and demanded that the release title be All That Money Can Buy . When the film performed poorly in its first engagements, it was withdrawn, cut and reissued at different intervals and different lengths as Daniel and the Devil and, finally, The Devil and Daniel Webster .
       In the opening onscreen credits, the names of the cast members and production crew all appear before the title under the headings "in front of the camera" (cast) and "in back of the camera" (crew). The names and respective job titles are then repeated after the film title. Also, all the character names appear in lower case in the opening credits. This was the first film produced by William Dieterle's production unit for release by RKO. According to news items in HR , it was shot ... More Less

Although the title of the print viewed was Daniel and the Devil , onscreen credits acknowledge that the picture was originally titled All That Money Can Buy . According to HR news items, the film was conceived in Jan 1941 as The Devil and Daniel Webster . In Feb 1941, the title was changed to A Certain Mr. Scratch to avoid confusion with another RKO film, The Devil and Miss Jones . By Mar 1941, the title had reverted back to The Devil and Daniel Webster , but it was tradeshown in Jul as Here Is a Man . An Aug 1941 HR news item noted that the studio's distribution department objected to the word "devil" in the title, and demanded that the release title be All That Money Can Buy . When the film performed poorly in its first engagements, it was withdrawn, cut and reissued at different intervals and different lengths as Daniel and the Devil and, finally, The Devil and Daniel Webster .
       In the opening onscreen credits, the names of the cast members and production crew all appear before the title under the headings "in front of the camera" (cast) and "in back of the camera" (crew). The names and respective job titles are then repeated after the film title. Also, all the character names appear in lower case in the opening credits. This was the first film produced by William Dieterle's production unit for release by RKO. According to news items in HR , it was shot on RKO's Pathé lot in Culver City on a new 33,000 square foot sound stage, one of the largest ever built. A NYHT news item reported that the snow in the blizzard was composed of 1,200 small white onions, 25,000 moth balls, 1,500 pounds of uncooked tapioca and 1,000 pounds of bleached cornflakes. HR news items provide the following information about the production: Jane Darwell was borrowed from Fox to play the role of "Ma Stone." Anne Shirley had to bow out of RKO's Father Takes a Wife to appear in this picture. Production began on 25 Mar 1941 and was running ahead of schedule until 22 Apr when Thomas Mitchell, who was playing the role of "Daniel Webster," suffered a skull fracture after a horse became frightened and plunged across the set, overturning Mitchell's carriage. Because of the accident, Mitchell was incapacitated for two months and the production was shut down. In early May, Charles Coburn was announced as Mitchell's replacement. On 29 May, Edward Arnold stepped into the title role, and the company reshot all of Mitchell's scenes, completing production on 11 Jul 1941. Bernard Herrmann won an Academy Award for Best Score and Walter Huston was nominated as Best Actor, but lost to Gary Cooper for his performance in Sergeant York . In 1960, the NBC television network broadcast a version of The Devil and Daniel Webster , produced by David Susskind and starring Edward G. Robinson and David Wayne, and in 1962, the network televised another version of the story. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Jul 1941.
---
Film Daily
16 Jul 41
4
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 41
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Feb 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Feb 41
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 41
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Apr 41
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Apr 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 41
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 41
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
17 Oct 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 Jul 41
p. 197.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Sep 41
p. 251.
New York Herald Tribune
27 Apr 1941.
---
New York Times
17 Oct 41
p. 27.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A William Dieterle Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster" by Stephen Vincent Benét in The Saturday Evening Post (24 Oct 1936).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
A Certain Mr. Scratch
Daniel and the Devil
The Devil and Daniel Webster
Release Date:
17 October 1941
Premiere Information:
San Francisco premiere: 29 Oct 1941
Production Date:
25 Mar--late Apr 1941; 28 May--11 Jun 1941
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
6 October 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10745
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
85, 100, 109 or 112
Length(in feet):
9,545
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7238
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1840, in the town of Cross Corners, New Hampshire, the words of Massachusetts senator Daniel Webster stir the farmers to organize a Grange movement to defend against the loan sharks threatening their lands. One victim of the creditors is Jabez Stone, who is in danger of losing his farm to Miser Stevens unless he can raise the money to pay his mortgage. When, in a moment of despair, Jabez offers to sell his soul to the devil, Mr. Scratch strolls out of the mist and offers the farmer seven years of prosperity in exchange for his soul. Jabez accepts the bargain, and the devil sears the date 7 Apr 1847 into a tree to commemorate their contract. With his newly found wealth, Jabez pays Stevens, purchases supplies and lends money to his fellow farmers to buy seed. When Webster comes to town, dogged by Mr. Scratch, Jabez delivers a speech in support of the politician, thus winning acclaim from the townsfolk. After his wife Mary becomes pregnant, Jabez tries to chop down the ominous tree, but Scratch warns him that that would constitute a breach of contract and invokes a hailstorm that destroys all the crops except Jabez's. The farmers begin to resent Jabez when he offers to pay them to harvest his crops, but destitute, they accept his wages. On the night of the harvest dance, Jabez's son is born and christened Daniel after his godfather, Daniel Webster. The birth is followed by the arrival of Belle, Scratch's bewitching emissary, who claims to be the baby's new nurse. Seven years pass, during which time Jabez has ... +


In 1840, in the town of Cross Corners, New Hampshire, the words of Massachusetts senator Daniel Webster stir the farmers to organize a Grange movement to defend against the loan sharks threatening their lands. One victim of the creditors is Jabez Stone, who is in danger of losing his farm to Miser Stevens unless he can raise the money to pay his mortgage. When, in a moment of despair, Jabez offers to sell his soul to the devil, Mr. Scratch strolls out of the mist and offers the farmer seven years of prosperity in exchange for his soul. Jabez accepts the bargain, and the devil sears the date 7 Apr 1847 into a tree to commemorate their contract. With his newly found wealth, Jabez pays Stevens, purchases supplies and lends money to his fellow farmers to buy seed. When Webster comes to town, dogged by Mr. Scratch, Jabez delivers a speech in support of the politician, thus winning acclaim from the townsfolk. After his wife Mary becomes pregnant, Jabez tries to chop down the ominous tree, but Scratch warns him that that would constitute a breach of contract and invokes a hailstorm that destroys all the crops except Jabez's. The farmers begin to resent Jabez when he offers to pay them to harvest his crops, but destitute, they accept his wages. On the night of the harvest dance, Jabez's son is born and christened Daniel after his godfather, Daniel Webster. The birth is followed by the arrival of Belle, Scratch's bewitching emissary, who claims to be the baby's new nurse. Seven years pass, during which time Jabez has come to value only money, prompting Mary to visit Webster and confide her unhappiness. Webster offers to speak to Jabez and accompanies Mary to Cross Corners, arriving on the night that Jabez has planned an ostentacious party to flaunt his luxurious new house. While Jabez awaits his guests, the farmers air their grievances about him to Webster. Mary, who is still living in their modest old homestead with Jabez's mother, attends the party and is confronted by Belle, who commands her to leave. Stevens is the next arrival, and he sorrowfully confides to Jabez that he, too, shares a pact with Scratch. Belle's otherworldly guests then arrive, followed by Webster, who lectures Jabez about taking advantage of the farmers. After Jabez angrily orders both Mary and Webster from his house, Scratch appears with the soul of Stevens neatly encompassed by his kerchief. When Scratch offers to extend Jabez's contract in exchange for his son, the farmer scurries after Webster and pleads for his help. Webster agrees to defend Jabez against the devil, and they return to the barn to meet Scratch at the midnight deadline. At twelve o'clock, Scratch appears and Webster argues that Jabez, as an American citizen, has the right to a jury trial. Scratch consents, but insists upon choosing the jury, summoning Captain Kidd, Benedict Arnold, Simon Girty and nine other traitors. Justice Hawthorne of the Salem witch trials allows Webster to argue his case on the condition that he surrender his soul to the devil if he loses. In Jabez's defense, Webster appeals to the jury's Americanism and their belief in its principle of freedom and suggests that they forfeited their freedom to the devil. Webster concludes that they may redeem some of their lost freedom by pardoning Jabez. Webster wins his case, and as the jury tears up Jabez's contract with the devil, the new house bursts into flames. After Mary and Jabez embrace, Jabez forgives the farmers' debts and joins the Grange. With his deal with Jabez overturned, Scratch turns his sights toward the audience. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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